Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., has said for more than a year that she would do whatever it takes to prevent former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House.
This includes a possible run for president. And even if Cheney loses her congressional primary on Tuesday to a Trump-backed challenger, as expected — or even if she pulls off a surprise win — the nation’s highest office will remain in limbo. So running is likely to be his next mission.
But many questions will face the Wyoming Republican — the Jan. 6 vice chair of the committee investigating the capitol riots, a staunch Trump critic and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — if she runs for president. Will she do it as a Republican? As a freelancer? Or even as a Democrat?
And how will electing the president in the Republican primary stop Trump? If the contest were run today, she would lose handily, given Trump’s enduring popularity among Republican voters.
Chinese himself is not talking about such speculation, but Republican political operatives from the anti-Trump wing of the party told Yahoo News that Chinese may have a two-stage strategy in the presidential race.
First, run in the GOP primary as the candidate for Republican voters who can’t stomach Trump and who want to vote their conscience. And then, run as a conservative independent in the general election, and try to capture as many of those voters as possible to deny Trump the votes he needs to defeat the Democrats.
“This is a spoiler candidacy because it’s designed to prevent Trump from becoming president. California Republican consultant Mike Madrid told Yahoo News that it was designed to take away from the GOP base and make it mathematically impossible for Trump to win. Designed for
“aim [presidential] The main objective is to create an operation to do just that,” he said.
Cheney’s closing remarks in the Wyoming congressional primary are the first step toward such a confrontation, Madrid said. Ads like the ones he recently ran on Fox News, featuring his father, “are not about trying to win Wyoming,” Madrid said.
“This is a full-frontal attack on the national Republican Party,” he said.
“In our nation’s 246-year history, no one has posed a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump,” Dick Cheney says in the ad.
“He’s a coward. A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it and, I think most Republicans know it,” Ex. says the vice president. “There is nothing more important than that. [Liz] Instead of leading efforts to ensure that Donald Trump is never near the Oval Office again.”
A Chinese ally who asked to speak on condition of anonymity said the Wyoming primary is “the first battle in a very big and long battle that she’s going to win because the future of the country depends on it.”
“No matter what happens, she is going to lead a broad coalition moving forward to defend freedom and restore the principles that Donald Trump continues to undermine,” a Chinese ally told Yahoo News. are.”
But the biggest question is how?
Even if Cheney mounts a credible challenge to Trump in the Republican primary, winning 10% or even 20% of the vote, he can run as an independent in the general election without losing most of those voters back to Trump. How to participate? China’s greatest enemies will be structural and psychological: a two-party system in which each side sees the other as an existential threat.
According to Pew Research Center data released last week, the number of Americans who view members of the opposing political party as “more closed-minded, dishonest, immoral, and unintelligent than other Americans” is the lowest since last year. There has been significant growth over the years.
Many Republicans who might support Cheney in the primary will be sorely tempted to vote for their party’s candidate in the fall election, to prevent the Democratic candidate from winning.
Such patterns have led democracy reformers to promote polling changes such as ranked-choice voting, in which Americans would be able to support their first choice without fear that they would indirectly vote for such a candidate. Helping what they fear the most win.
A handful of states and municipalities have begun using ranked choice voting in their elections. In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, is expected to retain her Senate seat this year as the state gets rid of closed party primaries. Instead, the top four vote-getters from either party in Tuesday’s Alaska primary will advance to the fall election, which will be decided by ranked-choice voting.
Joel Searby, who was a senior adviser to Ewan McMullen’s 2016 run for president as an independent and is now involved in building a third political party called the Forward Party, said “there is merit in the notion that Liz Cheney “The candidacy will draw more attention than anyone else. The Republican nominee.”
But Serbi cautioned that “it’s too early, too many things are going to happen,” and that there will likely be another independent candidate for president in 2024.
“I’ve heard from multiple reliable sources that at least three incredibly wealthy individuals are looking for independent runs,” Searby told Yahoo News. “It’s not going to happen, if Liz runs, ‘There’s your independent candidate!’ There are likely to be many independent candidates.
Any independent candidate would face the harsh reality of voting in all 50 states. It is a difficult, expensive and time-consuming process, and will likely be a clear test of any grassroots enthusiasm for a Chinese presidential bid.
A risk would also be, if China runs as an independent, that she could take some votes away from the Democratic candidate, whether it’s President Biden or someone else. China may try to avoid this by emphasizing its conservative views on abortion, the economy and other issues.
But part of what has made him a national figure in this moment is the appeal he’s built among voters who aren’t just Republicans. “Cheney has this broad coalition that goes pretty deep among progressives because they admire his courage,” Searby said.
If Cheney were to run as an independent, he would have to account for that risk, and reassure those who fear that his candidacy could actually help Trump win.
“If there was a scenario where electing a third-party candidate or an independent would strengthen Trump, I would not be a part of it,” Searby said.